Rachel is jealous of Ross' temptations. But this week's episode was really just a setup for the cliffhanger

David Schwimmer, Friends, ...
Credit: Friends: NBC

Rachel is jealous of Ross’ temptations

It’s beginning to look as if the producers of ”Friends” are trying to push the pregnant Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and her ostensibly platonic impregnator, Ross (David Schwimmer), closer together — emotionally, that is (they’ve already gotten too close physically). Last night, guest star Rena Sofer, who last season was a temptress on ”Ed,” played a temptress for Ross. As Katie, working in a baby-supply store where Rachel and Ross had gone to buy some infant necessities (this, a week before her due date!), Sofer flirted with Ross, and subsequently asked him out.

Rachel gave way to jealousy, saying bluntly, ”I don’t want you to date her” and ”I don’t want you to go out with anybody.” Ross, though entranced that a looker like Sofer would refer to him as ”a paleontologist who works out — you’re like Indiana Jones,” immediately told Rachel, ”Okay.” He immediately recognized Rachel’s emotional vulnerability as a single, first-time mom, which moved her greatly. It was another nice, sincere moment in a sitcom that can always get by just on big laughs — ”Friends” goes the extra mile this season.

The laughs, though, were milder this week in the episode’s two other subplots. One involved Chandler (Matthew Perry) going for a job interview and being hard-pressed to keep from giggling when the interviewer says the word ”duty.” (Chandler’s an immature jokester, but he’s not THAT immature.) The other storyline was undermined by its premise: Monica (Courteney Cox Arquette) gets a bad restaurant review in The New York Post and is so devastated, she confronts the snooty critic. Now, back up here a minute: a bad restaurant review in The New York Post? Everybody knows the only reviews that mean anything to foodies in Manhattan are the ones in The New York Times.

Anyway, the plot was an awkward excuse to get Monica in a cooking class the critic teaches, and where she proves her skills. Not even the presence of Joey (Matt LeBlanc), who was just along for the fun of it, was enough to yield much amusement. Nope, this was a holding-pattern episode of ”Friends” — by now, the show is just biding its time until Rachel’s baby is born, when, as they say on the competing ”Survivor,” the game will change forever.

What do you think the ”Friends” cliffhanger will reveal?



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